Sequence Analysis, DNA
The total number of cases of a given disease in a specified population at a designated time. It is differentiated from INCIDENCE, which refers to the number of new cases in the population at a given time.
The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from PREVALENCE, which refers to all cases, new or old, in the population at a given time.
Polymerase Chain Reaction
In vitro method for producing large amounts of specific DNA or RNA fragments of defined length and sequence from small amounts of short oligonucleotide flanking sequences (primers). The essential steps include thermal denaturation of the double-stranded target molecules, annealing of the primers to their complementary sequences, and extension of the annealed primers by enzymatic synthesis with DNA polymerase. The reaction is efficient, specific, and extremely sensitive. Uses for the reaction include disease diagnosis, detection of difficult-to-isolate pathogens, mutation analysis, genetic testing, DNA sequencing, and analyzing evolutionary relationships.
Studies in which subsets of a defined population are identified. These groups may or may not be exposed to factors hypothesized to influence the probability of the occurrence of a particular disease or other outcome. Cohorts are defined populations which, as a whole, are followed in an attempt to determine distinguishing subgroup characteristics.
Studies used to test etiologic hypotheses in which inferences about an exposure to putative causal factors are derived from data relating to characteristics of persons under study or to events or experiences in their past. The essential feature is that some of the persons under study have the disease or outcome of interest and their characteristics are compared with those of unaffected persons.
A set of statistical methods used to group variables or observations into strongly inter-related subgroups. In epidemiology, it may be used to analyze a closely grouped series of events or cases of disease or other health-related phenomenon with well-defined distribution patterns in relation to time or place or both.
Studies which start with the identification of persons with a disease of interest and a control (comparison, referent) group without the disease. The relationship of an attribute to the disease is examined by comparing diseased and non-diseased persons with regard to the frequency or levels of the attribute in each group.
Statistical models which describe the relationship between a qualitative dependent variable (that is, one which can take only certain discrete values, such as the presence or absence of a disease) and an independent variable. A common application is in epidemiology for estimating an individual's risk (probability of a disease) as a function of a given risk factor.
Studies in which the presence or absence of disease or other health-related variables are determined in each member of the study population or in a representative sample at one particular time. This contrasts with LONGITUDINAL STUDIES which are followed over a period of time.
Systematic gathering of data for a particular purpose from various sources, including questionnaires, interviews, observation, existing records, and electronic devices. The process is usually preliminary to statistical analysis of the data.
Sensitivity and Specificity
Binary classification measures to assess test results. Sensitivity or recall rate is the proportion of true positives. Specificity is the probability of correctly determining the absence of a condition. (From Last, Dictionary of Epidemiology, 2d ed)
Procedures for finding the mathematical function which best describes the relationship between a dependent variable and one or more independent variables. In linear regression (see LINEAR MODELS) the relationship is constrained to be a straight line and LEAST-SQUARES ANALYSIS is used to determine the best fit. In logistic regression (see LOGISTIC MODELS) the dependent variable is qualitative rather than continuously variable and LIKELIHOOD FUNCTIONS are used to find the best relationship. In multiple regression, the dependent variable is considered to depend on more than a single independent variable.
The ratio of two odds. The exposure-odds ratio for case control data is the ratio of the odds in favor of exposure among cases to the odds in favor of exposure among noncases. The disease-odds ratio for a cohort or cross section is the ratio of the odds in favor of disease among the exposed to the odds in favor of disease among the unexposed. The prevalence-odds ratio refers to an odds ratio derived cross-sectionally from studies of prevalent cases.
A set of techniques used when variation in several variables has to be studied simultaneously. In statistics, multivariate analysis is interpreted as any analytic method that allows simultaneous study of two or more dependent variables.
Severity of Illness Index
Reproducibility of Results
The statistical reproducibility of measurements (often in a clinical context), including the testing of instrumentation or techniques to obtain reproducible results. The concept includes reproducibility of physiological measurements, which may be used to develop rules to assess probability or prognosis, or response to a stimulus; reproducibility of occurrence of a condition; and reproducibility of experimental results.